What humans won't do to excise resources from the earth for profit. Now, we're shoving dirty water into the ground in attempts to push natural gas within reach, a practice that contaminates water supplies and may even cause earthquakes in normally quake-free zones. It's not a good or sustainable practice, and it has the potential to do a great deal of damage.
That's not just tree-hugger rhetoric, it's what the science experts say:
Extracting natural gas from shale rock - commonly called "fracking" - is fraught with environmental risk, danger and uncertainty, speaker after speaker warned Monday at a daylong conference at Duke University.
One ecology professor even urged that a national moratorium be imposed on the controversial gas drilling practice that's permitted in some states but has been suspended in others. That suggestion elicited applause and shouts of support from the audience at the event, which was hosted by Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and streamed live over the Internet to thousands of people.
But after the panelists emptied the stage in the afternoon, a representative from ExxonMobil Production Co. said that while the stage presentations were impassioned and well-researched, they were one-sided.
The state legislature this year is expected to debate legalizing the drilling and fracking technologies that would be used to tap into an estimated 40-year supply of natural gas trapped in prehistoric shale rock formations below Lee, Moore, Chatham, Durham and Wake counties.
Read the entire News & Observer article, by John Murawski, here.